Singapore — Beginning at 11:59 pm on Saturday (Dec 4), employers of S Pass and work permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard and processes sector (CMP) can no longer make new applications for employees to enter Singapore through the vaccinated travel lanes (VTL).
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced in a press release that the new rule includes employers of other dormitory-bound work pass holders.
Meanwhile, Malaysians and female work pass holders are still permitted entry via VTLs, although required to adhere to prevailing health protocols.
MOM noted that this group of individuals “generally do not reside in dormitories,” hence the exemption.
S Pass and work permit holders in the CMP sectors and other dormitory-bound workers will now need to apply for entry through the work pass holder general lane if they did not obtain VTL approval earlier on.
“As a condition for entry into Singapore, CMP workers with an entry approval granted by MOM must comply with the prevailing entry approval requirements such as Covid-19 testing and stay-home notices,” said MOM.
Those with prior approval are subjected to an on-arrival Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test and self-isolation while waiting for results.
After receiving negative results, individuals will go through a five-day onboarding programme.
MOM noted it would provide more details to the employers.
According to MOM, the number of workers entering under these lanes meets industry needs while allowing the entry of these workers to be done at a pace where they can be safely onboarded before entering the dormitories and worksites as these are higher risk settings.
“Employers must pay for their workers’ entry charges and ensure they comply with the measures,” said MOM.
It added that “employers and workers have a joint duty to fulfil the entry approval requirements listed above.”
“Enforcement measures, including criminal proceedings, revocation of passes and suspension of work pass privileges, will be taken for non-compliance or false declaration.”
In response to the news, members from the online community wondered if such measures were necessary even though workers meet all travel criteria.
“MOM, you can’t discriminate workers if they meet all the travel criteria. What is your justification,” asked Facebook user Saud Sultan.
“Please exercise fairness to all people regardless of their job pass. All virus do not look at such regulations?” said a netizen.
“Is this really necessary? For Delta totally ignore, for new one act too much,” added Facebook user Vik Vicknesh.
In response to the Omicron Covid-19 variant, Singapore announced on Friday stricter rules for VTL travellers.
On top of more testing requirements and isolation, new VTLs after those Thailand, Cambodia, Fiji, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Turkey were suspended.
VTLs for Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has also been postponed indefinitely.
More information on current entry approval requirements can be found here. /TISG
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